Manual:Resetting passwords

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There are any number of situations where a user may need to reset their password. Typically, people either forget their password or experience some kind of security breach that may have disclosed their password. For most situations, they can reset their own password using "Email new password".

In situations that are complicated by the user forgetting their account name or losing access to their email, additional measures may need to be taken by an administrator or system administrator.

Methods[edit | edit source]

Use Special:UserLogin[edit | edit source]

If you know the username for an account, you can use the "Email new password" feature on the Special:UserLogin page. To use the feature, visit the Special:UserLogin page for the relevant wiki, fill in the Username field of the form and press the 'Email new password' button. A temporary password, along with instructions on how to reset the account's password, will be sent to the email address associated with the username.

Finding the username for a given email address[edit | edit source]

If you know the email address for a user, but not their username, query the user table of the MediaWiki database to find the associated username. For example, to find the username for, run the following query:

SELECT user_name FROM user WHERE user_email = '';

Use the changePassword.php maintenance script[edit | edit source]

The changePassword.php maintenance script allows system administrators to change the password for an account from the command line of the server that MediaWiki is installed on. For complete usage details, review changePassword.php. If you are already familiar with maintenance scripts, then simply run the following command:

# set the password for username 'example' to 'newpassword'
php changePassword.php --user=example --password=newpassword
Caution! Caution: System administrators should not know the unencrypted password for user accounts. A user may use the same password over many different sites. If one of their accounts that uses the same password is compromised, then suspicion can be thrown on the administrator. It is better to use "Email new password" to force the user to reset the password for their own account.

Use Special:PasswordReset[edit | edit source]

Special:PasswordReset allows accounts with the 'passwordreset' permission to reset account passwords for the local installation of MediaWiki.

To use:

  • Type username you want to reset in box provided and click "Reset password"
  • An automatically generated password will be emailed to the user

For automatically inserting the username in links, use Special:PasswordReset?wpUsername=Foo

Direct database modification[edit | edit source]

To reset a password you can change the value of user_password field, in user table. However, it's generally far easier and safer to use "Email new password" or use the changePassword.php script. Note that if your MediaWiki installation uses a memory cache, such as memcached or redis, then the User object is cached, so after making SQL changes you must restart memcached or flush redis before a user can log in with the new password.

For MediaWiki Version 1.13 and above[edit | edit source]

You should choose the salted or unsalted method depending on the value of $wgPasswordSalt in LocalSettings.php

MySQL unsalted
UPDATE `user` SET user_password = CONCAT(':A:', MD5('somepass')) WHERE user_name = 'someuser';
MySQL salted (make sure both instances of "somesalt" are the same)
UPDATE `user` SET user_password = CONCAT(':B:somesalt:', MD5(CONCAT('somesalt-', MD5('somepass')))) WHERE user_name = 'someuser';
PostgreSQL unsalted
update mwuser SET user_password = text(':A:') || MD5('somepass') WHERE user_name = 'someuser';
PostgreSQL salted (make sure both instances of "somesalt" are the same)
update mwuser SET user_password = text(':B:somesalt:') || MD5(text('somesalt-') || MD5('somepass')) WHERE user_name = 'someuser';

For MediaWiki Version 1.12 and below[edit | edit source]


UPDATE user SET user_password = MD5(CONCAT(user_id, '-', MD5('somepass'))) WHERE user_name = 'someuser';


UPDATE mwuser SET user_password = MD5(text("user_id") || text('-') || MD5('somepass')) WHERE user_name = 'someuser';

Notes[edit | edit source]

Also restarting Apache and clearing your browser cache might help.

You can copy the known password from one account to another: (Tested on Mediawiki 1.15, MySQL)

SELECT user_id, user_name, user_password FROM user;
| user_id | user_name | user_password                                |
|       1 | User1     | :B:1d8f41af:1ba8866d9c43d30b7bc037db03a067de |
|       2 | User2     | :B:ee53710f:4291b056175513a5602d48eaeb79705c |

UPDATE user SET user_password = ':B:ee53710f:4291b056175513a5602d48eaeb79705c' WHERE user_id = 1;
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